Football season is back, and with it is the Cafe’s Start/Sit article for Week 1. We went over a few tough Start/Sit decisions in Week 1 of the Cafe Pod, but you’ll find my rankings for all players who are anticipated to be fantasy relevant in leagues below.
Update: Still having trouble with the Standard/PPR distinction, so be sure you flip those rankings when you consider start/sit options (i.e., Ridley should be No. 3 on Standard RB rankings, No. 6 in PPR rankings).
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Start: Eli Manning at DAL. The Cowboys’ secondary isn’t one that’s going to cause much fear in the hearts of quarterbacks, and the talented pass rushers on the Cowboys will have to adjust to the role of 4-3 end. If they don’t excel from the end position immediately, Manning could have a field day.
Sit: Michael Vick at WAS. O.K. Chip Kelly, it’s time to see what your offense can do. Is anyone really confident about what we can expect from the former Oregon coach in his first game? I’m not. There is no amount of pass attempts that Vick could have that would surprise me; it could be five, it could be 50. Until we get a better read on this offense, I’m hesitant to start Vick, especially against a defense that played extremely well in the second half of last season.
Start: Daryl Richardson vs. ARI. Even though Richardson’s been named the starter, we don’t really know how snap counts are going to shake out between him and Isaiah Pead this season. We do know that Richardson should see the bulk of the work in Week 1 though, since Pead is unavailable due to suspension. With the Rams being favored in this game, Richardson could rack up 20-25 carries and settle in as a quality RB2.
Sit: Chris Ivory vs. TB. Ivory drew some buzz early in the drafting season due to his new location, but the excitement wore off once people considered just how bad this Jets offense is. Unknown quantity Geno Smith lines up at quarterback, and even though there’s a chance his ability to not be Mark Sanchez could lift this offense out of the doldrums, it’s a case of having to see it before relying on any Jets as fantasy starters. Take a wait and see approach with Ivory, especially until we can determine how the playing time will be split.
Start: Greg Jennings at DET. While Christian Ponder is not a quarterback who breeds confidence, Jennings has a very nice matchup against the Lions in his first game with the Vikings. Detroit brought back Chris Houston and drafted Darius Slay, but the secondary is still a work in progress. Furthermore, anything the Lions do on defense should be geared to stopping Adrian Peterson. Jennings could benefit from some favorable one-on-one matchups if the Vikings move him around the field, and that should lead to a solid game.
Sit: Tavon Austin vs. ARI. Austin was drafted pretty in fantasy leagues thanks to his top-ten draft status in the NFL’s rookie draft and his ability to make plays from many different spots on the field. However, the Rams do have a few other quality options to catch passes, and without any regular-season footage to analyze, we don’t know exactly what the Rams are going to do with Austin out of the gate. Like with Vick and Ivory above, benching Austin in Week 1 is just about playing it safe until we have some actual data to inform our opinions of those players.
Start: Zach Sudfeld at BUF. One guy with whom I won’t play it safe is Sudfeld, who should serve as the team’s No. 1 tight-end and potentially its top red-zone receiving threat until Rob Gronkowski is healthy. With Tom Brady at the helm, this offense should have no problem getting to the red zone. Sudfeld is one of the top candidates to score multiple TDs at the tight end position, which makes him our best option out of the fringe TE1s.
Sit: Jermaine Gresham at CHI. Gresham was a solid low-level fantasy tight end last year, but he wasn’t dynamic enough in the passing game to prevent the Bengals from spending their first-round pick on Tyler Eifert. While the two tight ends will likely line up on the field together a respectable amount of time, I see Eifert developing into the second option in the passing game and Gresham fading to fantasy obscurity. I wouldn’t own him in any leagues, and I certainly wouldn’t start him until I develop confidence that Eifert’s presence won’t kill his value.
R.J. White is the head editor at the Cafe and contributes to CBSSports.com's MLB Rumors blog. He has previously written for FanHouse, Razzball and FanDuel. Catch up with him in the forums under the name daullaz. Follow him on Twitter; don't follow him in real life.
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